PeaceHealth has laid off 51 people in its Columbia Network, the Vancouver-based health system said in a statement Tuesday.
“PeaceHealth is actively responding to the significant challenges faced by health care organizations across the U.S.,” said Debra Carnes, senior marketing and communications director for the Columbia Network.
Carnes added that the nonprofit is also adjusting its operations and services to reflect changes in the communities it serves and to be “responsible to our healing mission into the future.”
“Where possible, we are working to match qualified caregivers with the nearly 1,300 open clinical roles across PeaceHealth,” said Carnes.
“Comprehensive plans are already underway to recruit additional nurses, ensure patients can return home as quickly as possible and grow the services we know our community members need,” Carnes continued.
The eliminated positions were at the Vancouver and Longview hospitals and clinics, though Carnes didn’t mention any specific departments impacted.
However, Carnes said, the Vancouver sleep lab will no longer offer overnight services as of June 30. The lab will keep doing sleep consultations and home sleep studies. Carnes said the organization plans to work with other providers in the community to find alternatives for overnight sleep lab services where available.
PeaceHealth’s Columbia network operates two hospitals in the region: PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center in Longview and PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver. The Catholic nonprofit health system operates 10 hospitals spread across Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
In February, PeaceHealth reported a loss of more than $90.7 million in the six-month period ending on Dec. 31, 2022. That followed a nearly $117 million loss reported over the same period in 2021. While the organization had been able to lower labor costs a bit, costs for payroll taxes and benefits increased, as did the cost for medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.
Just last month, PeaceHealth was downgraded by Fitch Ratings from AA- to A+. The credit rating provider said the move was made because of the “considerable operating stress PeaceHealth has faced recently.”
“Despite these challenges, Fitch expects PeaceHealth’s operating results to show steady and significant improvement over time,” Fitch’s statement added.
“The system has a track record of generating sound operating metrics,” the statement continued. “Despite operating losses in recent years, the Stable Outlook reflects Fitch’s belief that PeaceHealth’s improvement initiatives will yield steady operating gains in fiscal 2023 and beyond.”